I am a freelance writer and diversional therapist, living in Brisbane's North West. I write for Weekend Notes, Must do Brisbane and Starts at Sixty. Visit my blogs at babybloomin.wordpress.com and brisbanetripster.wordpress.com.
Published March 30th 2015
Colouring in books have adults sharpening their pencils
Have you ever wished you could go back to your childhood to enjoy all those childish pleasures? Well, now you can indulge in one of the most basic of these - colouring in. Illustrator and "ink evangelist", Johanna Basford has sparked a global trend with her adult colouring books. Her books are selling like hot cakes in North America, Europe, Spain and now, Australia. So popular are these books that they are holding their own in the top seven best sellers at Amazon.
Drawing mostly black and white scenes, Johanna creates intricate pages just waiting to be brought to life with colour - by a grown-up!
Her first book, Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Colouring Book, was inspired by Scotland's Brodick Castle Gardens, where she often watched her grandfather work as the head gardener. The book has proved to be a huge hit, with 1.4 million copies being sold and translated into 14 languages. Unbelievably, it has outsold the most popular cookbook in France!
Both books are full of intricate illustrations which are intended to charm and delight. Growing up in rural Scotland, the illustrator says much of her work is influenced by the flora and fauna that surrounded her in her childhood. In fact, as you colour in, you'll discover little creatures hidden amongst the fine lines - hence the treasure hunt. Johanna says, "I like sugar mice, Alice in Wonderland, peonies and 0.05 Staedtler pigment liners!"
These two books have proven so popular that she is currently working on a third colouring in book. So why are so many grown-ups rushing to buy the books and their own sets of colouring pens and pencils? Johanna thinks it is partly because colouring is cathartic and evokes memories of a time when life was simpler and more carefree. The activity is therapeutic, helping us to relax, destress and zone out. It reportedly generates wellness and quietness and stimulates areas of the brain associated with creativity, the senses and motor skills. She says, "The books are a way for adults who don't normally draw or paint to be creative." She adds that colouring is a chance to unplug and disconnect from technology.
Johanna Basford invites us all to tumble down the rabbit hole and find ourselves in her inky black and white Wonderland.